Extraordinary Health Benefits of Tomatoes
Tomatoes are considered as one of the most versatile foods in the plant kingdom. Tomatoes are foods can be eaten, cooked, and prepared in many different ways. It can even be eaten when raw, unripe, or dried. Tomatoes are culinary staples that can be added in sandwiches, salads, and pasta dishes.
It is also very popular in Italian dishes, especially in sauces. Tomato paste, ketchup, and other processed foods have tomatoes as their main ingredient.
While most people know that tomatoes can add a certain zing to a dish, and while many also know that tomatoes are a healthy food, not many know exactly what those benefits are. Here, we will be discussing the several health benefits of tomatoes as well as any other information that you may want to know about this amazing fruit.
What are Tomatoes?
Tomato is a fruit, classified as a berry, from the plant Solanum Lycopersicum. It originated in the regions of Central and South America during Spanish colonization. After it has been shared all over the world, tomatoes have become a staple food for many nations. Many countries cultivate tomatoes, such as China, the USA, Africa, India, and the Middle East.
There are over 7,000 different varieties of tomatoes depending on where they are grown. Different variants may also contain varying nutrient levels. In the United States, it is the fourth most popular produce despite it being thought of as being poisonous by Americans 200 years ago.
Nutrition Facts on Tomatoes
One cup of tomatoes contains 32 calories and over 2 grams of fiber, the latter of which comprises of both soluble and insoluble types. It also has around 1.5 grams of protein and 5.8 grams of carbs. Vitamin A, phosphorus, and potassium are the minerals that are abundant in tomatoes, although calcium, potassium, zinc, copper, manganese, and folate can also be found.
Tomatoes are comprised of about 95% water and zero cholesterol. It also contains very little sugar, making it safe for diabetics.
Health Benefits of Tomatoes
Listed below are some of the most common health benefits that you would get from adding a few servings of tomatoes in your diet.
It is Rich in Antioxidants
Tomato is an edible berry that is rich in antioxidants like lycopene. Anti-oxidants such as lycopene have been well known to help prevent some chronic conditions such as heart disease, stroke, obesity, diabetes, and certain types of cancers. Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease are also neurological disorders that recommend antioxidant treatment along with brain training exercises.
It Helps Prevent Chronic Diseases
Tomatoes have fiber, vitamin C, potassium, and choline. These nutrients help promote good heart health, as well as reduce the risks of hypertension and stroke. Tomatoes help in healthy blood circulation within the body, as well. In addition to these, a diet that contains a regular serving of tomatoes helps in reducing diabetes risk due to the fruit’s low glycemic index.
Lycopene, a carotenoid that is very abundant in tomatoes, is an antioxidant that neutralizes free radicals. It is also anti-inflammatory and can help prevent certain types of cancers from occurring.
Lycopene has been proving in helping minimize the risk of cancers such as those of the prostate and the lungs due to its capabilities to reduce oxidative stress within the body. However, those who have cancer and are undergoing chemotherapy may find that eating tomatoes can be difficult due to its high acidity.
It Helps Improve Vision
Tomatoes contain a healthy dose of Vitamin A, which is required for good eyesight. Aside from this, tomatoes also contain lutein and zeaxanthin, which aid in the filtration of light in your eyes. Too much light can damage eye tissues, and these hormones help protect your eyes from this type of damage.
In addition, Vitamin C and copper are also present in tomatoes. This helps prevents the eyes from degenerating as well as from forming cataracts due to old age. A healthy diet of tomatoes can help keep your eyes healthy and your vision clear.
It Aids in Digestion
Eating tomatoes can help you keep healthy digestion. Due to its water content, it can aid in treating constipation. Diarrhea can also be prevented by adding tomatoes to your meals, although too much may cause this condition, as well.
Tomatoes also help the body produce carnitine, an amino acid that helps the body burn more calories. A faster metabolism means that food can pass through the digestive tract faster.
In addition to these benefits, tomatoes also help in preventing jaundice and other complications by helping remove toxins that may be absorbed by the body during digestion. Lastly, soluble and insoluble fibers in tomatoes help digestion by cleaning the gut and aiding in regular bowel movements.
It Helps Treat Hypertension
There have also been studies that a cup of unsalted tomato can help lower blood pressure which means it can reduce a person’s risk of cardiovascular disease. They even have tested some participants to drink as much unsalted tomato juice as they wanted.
And at the end of the study, the researchers found out that most of the participants who have untreated pre-hypertension or hypertension at the beginning of the study saw a significant decline in their blood pressure tests.
It Helps Against Gallstones
The primary ingredient in most gallstones is cholesterol. And since vitamin C can help convert cholesterol into bile acid, one of the fruit drinks you can take is tomato juice.
Tomato juice can provide nutrients that can help protect and promote healthy gallbladder function. Tomatoes are also known to not contain cholesterol, so it will not aggravate gallstones when not eaten in excess.
It Helps Improve Skin Health
Beta carotene and lycopene in tomatoes can reduce free-radicals and has anti-aging properties that help prevent fine lines and wrinkles from forming on your skin. It can also help treat acne and acne scars, dark circles, dark spots, and pigmentation, and it can get rid of blackheads.
Tomatoes have balancing PH levels of the skin which prevents skin breakouts and removes dead skin cells. Its vitamins help regenerate the skin and make your skin glow thus protect you from sunburn. Tomatoes also have salicylic acid which is part of most of the cosmetic products and can also serve as an astringent.
It Helps Minimize the Effects of Smoking
Research backs up the fact that a daily serving of tomatoes can help minimize or reverse the damage caused by smoking. Studies have shown that risks of chronic, smoking-related diseases such as lung cancer as well as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD, have been minimized in test subjects who have tomatoes in their diets.
Along with other fruits and vegetables, those who have eaten tomatoes showed a 4 to 8 percent lower risk of contracting diseases related to smoking.
Of course, smoking is still a habit that should be eliminated. However, eating tomatoes is recommended for those who are still smoking or for those who have quit and would like to quickly recover from the negative effects of the habit.
It Helps Promote Hair Health
The nutrients found in tomatoes are known to help keep hair firm and less prone to breakage. It helps condition hair, prevents hair loss, and also helps in treating dandruff.
Tomatoes help blood circulation in your scalp because it is rich in iron. You may massage your scalp with tomato juice to help repair the damage of your hair. Eating and using tomatoes directly onto your hair are recommended in order to promote good hair health. You can also check an interesting article on dry scalp treatment for dandruff.
Side Effects of Eating Tomatoes
Despite all the benefits that we have discussed, if taken in excess, tomatoes can also have dangerous effects on our bodies. While it may be difficult to eat too many tomatoes, it is critical to know the side effects and how they can negatively affect you.
Eating too many tomatoes can still cause kidney and heart problems. If there is an increase of too much potassium, it can become a cause of advanced chronic disease. It can also cause breathing difficulties and mold development. Canned tomatoes, which are rich in sodium, can spike your blood pressure which causes certain heart problems. Too much salt is also one of the leading causes of obesity.
Because tomatoes contain histamine, it can also cause infections and allergies. Allergic reactions would include, coughing, sneezing and skin reactions like swelling of face and tongue. Higher histamine levels can also trigger or worsen migraines, so it may be better to avoid tomatoes if you are having a migraine attack.
Tomatoes are acidic in nature which can also cause acid reflux and heartburn. Its excessive gas can flow up your esophagus and can even worsen the symptoms of GERD.
It can eventually cause urinary problems because citric acid can irritate your bladder. Tomatoes can also increase your uric acid which will eventually cause body aches, pains, and inflammation. Seeds are indigestible, these can cause bloating or irritable bowel syndrome.
Lastly, too many tomatoes in your diet can also develop prostate cancer, ironically, due to excess lycopene as well as lycopenodermia which is a condition that causes deep orange coloration of your skin.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is a tomato a vegetable or a fruit?
Tomatoes can either be a fruit or vegetable, depending on who you are asking. Botanically speaking, a tomato is a fruit that is a ripened flower ovary and contains seeds. On the other hand, nutritionists, as well as chefs, consider them to be a vegetable since many cultures have been serving tomatoes as part of the main dish.
How many tomatoes should you eat per day?
One cup of tomatoes is the recommended serving for this food. One cup of tomatoes is equal to two small tomatoes or twenty cherry tomatoes. Take note, though, the cherry tomatoes have twice as many calories per serving as compared to the former. As such, keep that in mind if you are counting calories or are trying to lose weight.
What will happen if I eat too many tomatoes?
Eating too many tomatoes may cause illnesses such as migraine, joint pain or body aches, acid reflux, urinary problems, respiratory and heart problems, hypotension, etc. Contracting diarrhea may also be a possibility when you eat too many tomatoes. It is not beneficial if we eat too much of anything.
One cup of tomatoes is more than adequate to benefit from this food without having to worry about any harmful side effects from eating too much.
How should I eat tomatoes for health benefits?
It is always best to eat fresh tomatoes than canned tomatoes. Canned tomatoes, as well as tomato paste, tomato sauces, soups, and pasta sauces, are processed foods that may contain preservatives and other chemicals that may affect long term health.
It is also recommended to eat organic tomatoes as well as to avoid those who have been treated with pesticides. Getting them from the local market or growing your own plant in your backyard is highly recommended.
Are tomatoes good for weight loss?
Tomatoes are good for weight loss if eaten in moderation. A medium-sized seedless tomato per day would help you lose weight and can also add nutrition to your diet. This is due to the content of both soluble and insoluble fibers that help aid digestion and the absorption of nutrients into the body.
Tomatoes are known for their anti-inflammatory properties and can aid in lessening water retention within the body, as well. However, moderation is still key.
Tomato is an essential food. It gives flavor to our food and it also gives us enough nutrients that support healthful skin, weight loss, and heart health; and it can even help fight diseases and repair lung ailments, among other positive effects.
Though it has been very beneficial, everything that is taken in excess would be bad for our health. That is why it is always good to take everything in moderation. A medium-sized tomato would be enough to cover the nutrients that we need for the day.
As such, try and make it a point to have a serving of tomatoes a day in order to promote good overall health. It has a lot of positive effects on your body that you shouldn’t miss out on.